NOW IN OUR LIBRARY ~ BLACK HISTORY MONTH ~ AN INTRODUCTION

NOW IN OUR LIBRARY ~ BLACK HISTORY MONTH ~ AN INTRODUCTION

Since this is Black History Month, I thought we should look at how they have served Canada in peace and in war.  I have selected a few individuals to show their stories although it is not possible to include all those who have served.  There are many who showed enormous bravery and service who are not mentioned here. The first reference is about the many who served to defend Canada in 1780.  A number were offered their freedom if they fought against the Americans.  Then in 1812, they formed a “Company of Coloured Men” who fought at Queenston Heights. During the rebellion in Upper Canada 1837-1839, about 1000 black militia formed 5 companies and helped put down the uprising. In World War I, military enlistment personnel made it difficult for black Canadians to join up but in spite of these barriers many wanted to serve. Reverend William White played a large role in the formation in Pictou, N.S. of No. 2 Construction Battalion.  The Rev. White was the Battalion chaplain who was given the Honorary rank of Captain, one of the few black commissioned officers to serve.  The unit served in a non-combat role in France. In World War II, Michael Manley served as aircrew in the RCAF and subsequently in 1972, he became Prime Minister of Jamaica. Lincoln Alexander, Leonard Braithwaite and Lloyd Perry all became lawyers.  Lincoln Alexander became the first black Member of Parliament and later, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario.  Eric Watts served in the RCAF and rose from airman to squadron leader.  He served as Wing Air Armaments Officer with 1 Wing Merville France and...
SNOWED IN?  CHECK OUT THESE POPULAR POSTS ON OUR WEBSITE!

SNOWED IN? CHECK OUT THESE POPULAR POSTS ON OUR WEBSITE!

Are you snowed in like we are at the Museum?  Why not have a closer look at some of our most popular posts?  Click on the blue print to link up with the posts themselves.  When you discover one that is especially meaningful to you, comment on it, telling us why you like it!  And while you’re here? Like and share this!  And then ? Sign up to have our posts delivered right to your inbox on the day they’re posted! First up, the first in a new series for us, Introducing Al Wilson, Cartoonist.  He worked at the Totem Times for part of his career, and his cartoons are enjoyed by many of our readers!  We publish two of his cartoons each month.       Next, From Our Main Gallery - Japanese Paper Balloon Bombs.  This was written by one of our volunteers, Gary, who works in the Gift Shop on Tuesday mornings.  Gary loves to be at the Museum and is writing a series of “From Our Main Gallery” pieces for us.  Another popular one he wrote is about medals.  We received some good responses to this one as it helped folks identify some medals they had!  Thanks for all your work, Gary!     Our readers love to learn about what’s going on in the Heritage Air Park and the work our volunteers are doing in Hangar 268, located there.  The progress made on the Dakota Maintenance was a hit!  And Keith did an amazing job organizing the aircraft technical maintenance manuals, work appreciated by base personnel as well.           The...

ESCAPE AND EVASION ~ THREE MORE STORIES OF COURAGE

  WINSTON CHURCHILL ~ During the Boer War, Winston Churchill was a war correspondent; he was captured by the Boers in November of 1899.  He was armed and thus considered a belligerent so was imprisoned with British officers in a converted school in Pretoria.  On December 12, 1899, he vaulted over the wall and made his escape.  He followed the railway, walking at night and sleeping during the day. He made it to the Mozambique border (then a Portuguese colony) and reported to the British Consul in Lourenco Marques.  He then took a boat to Durban in South Africa and joined a South African Military Unit, but did return to England several months later; he eventually ran for Parliament.           FRANZ VON WERRA ~ On September 5th, 1940, Werra’s plane was shot down over Kent.   He crash-landed in a field and captured by an unarmed cook of a nearby army unit.  Initially held in Maidstone’s barracks, he attempted his first escape.  He had been put to work digging and was faced down by Private Denis Rickwood in a small truncheon.  He was interrogated for 18 days and eventually sent to the London District Prisoner of War ‘cage’ and then to POW Camp No. 1. On October 7th, he tried to escape once again, this time during a daytime walk outside the camp.  He slipped over a wall into a field; guards alerted the local farmers and the Home Guard.  On October 10th, two Home Guard soldiers found him sheltering from the rain in a hoggarth, but he quickly escaped and disappeared into the night....
NOW IN OUR LIBRARY ~ ESCAPE AND EVASION ~ THREE STORIES OF COURAGE

NOW IN OUR LIBRARY ~ ESCAPE AND EVASION ~ THREE STORIES OF COURAGE

Most people are aware POWs on both sides will try to escape and return to their own lines. When one is taken prisoner, all you need to give the enemy is your name, rank and serial number.  On both sides interrogators try every trick to learn more and an unfortunate slip can give the enemy a lot of information. A prisoner will try to escape but even if he is not successful, the opposing side must divert many resources in an attempt to recapture the escapee.  One should never cooperate with the enemy unless the end result is to your advantage and not to theirs. During WWI and WWII, when a person escaped in an enemy country, it helped if you could blend in with the local population, speak the language, and dress like the locals.  Having forged papers was an asset as well.  In an occupied country, an escapee could often rely on the local population for food and shelter, and many were soon linked up with an escape route.  Many local people were very short of food but did what they could to help. During those times, the RCAF was not a professional force; most of its people were civilians who enlisted and many men (and women) came from a large cross section of trades and professions.  When these men were put together in a prison camp, their combined skills could produce almost anything. Over the years, people have made good their escape.  I’ve selected a few examples to show you what they achieved.   W/C T.D. CALNAN ~ There is an old saying, “If you do not...
FROM OUR MAIN GALLERY ~ AIRCRAFT NOSE ART

FROM OUR MAIN GALLERY ~ AIRCRAFT NOSE ART

The topic today is aircraft nose art. Because the story is so large I have split the story into several parts, the first being the beginnings of the art and the contributions made by the Walt Disney company. When I started my research into aircraft nose art I thought its origins were in the Second World War, in fact to my surprise the first examples began in the first world. Even more surprising was that the first examples showed up on French trucks. Different  squadrons began to individualize their aircraft to  recognize men or companies that had either sponsored or bought an individual aircraft. Artwork began with overall paint schemes rather than single pieces on the nose of the plane. The most well know of these is the squadron led by Manfred Von Richthofen , otherwise know as the Red Baron. He permitted each pilot to paint his plane any colour or scheme that he desired, resulting in a guady array of paint shemes. Another well known paint scheme was on the planes belonging to the american Top Hatters commanded by Eddie Richenbacker. His squadron had their squadron motif on the fuselage. Very few planes had art on their nose but the were a few as seen below.   It is in post World War One France that Walt Disney was introduced to these cartoons and caricatures. He was like all young men at the time, trying to get into fight. Luckily for us, he was too young. He found a way by joining the American Red Cross. He was in France just after the armistice and stayed for...

NOW IN OUR LIBRARY ~ THE MILITARY HISTORY OF CANADA

Admittedly, the topic of the military history of Canada is very broad.  Of course, our Library has a focus on the Air Force, and in seeking out books to share with you, I discovered that we have a variety of approaches to the topic.  Here are a few I found: A Military History of Canada ~ written by Desmond Morton, the author tells the reader that, “this is a country that has been shaped, divided, and transformed by war.  There is no greater influence in our history.  War has developed our industries, realigned our political factions, altered the roles of Canadian women, and changed Canada’s status in the world. From the shrewd tactics of Canada’s First Nations to our troubled involvement in Somalia, from the Plains of Abraham to the deserts of Iraq, Morton examines our centuries-old relationship to war and its consequences.  This edition (4th) brings the story of our military up to Canada’s role in the 1999 NATO action in Kosovo.”   The book includes the evolution of our Royal Canadian Air Force.  One of the photos included is of a Canadian pilot in a Hurricane fighter, “workhorse of both RAF and RCAF fighter squadrons overseas…”       Spencer Dunmore is the author of Above and Beyond ~ The focus of this volume is on the Canadians’ War in the Air, 1939 - 45.  ” From the first skirmishes over Europe in September 1939, Canadian airmen served in almost every theatre of the Second World War, from bases in Britain and Europe, North Africa, and Southeast Asia.  And in the months and years that followed, with the slaughter mounting...

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